Flight Academy

Cockpit Resource Management

Cockpit Resource Management is simply the ability to manage all of your time and information in the cockpit at peak efficiency. How much fuel is left and how far will it get you? What critical information will you need prepared before take off? What should I do if I have an engine failure? The module will teach you what you should know before you even enter the cockpit. All of these questions and more will be answered in CRM training.

Organised Flights

During hub flights at Air SeaTac (AST), we make many hops over a 2-3 hour period of time. Before a hub flight you need to consider the planned route and if you will have enough fuel for all of the hops. If there is not enough, time should to be allotted to visit a designated refuel point after landing. (In FS2002 they are the yellow boxes; to refuel you must come to a complete stop in one of these squares.) Passengers must disembark at the gate before you can proceed to refuel. Then you must return to the gate to pick up passengers. For the most part you will have an aircraft with the fuel economy to make the entire hub flight.

As stated before, AST hub flights make many jumps. To prepare, you should design all of your flight plans for each hop before joining the hub flight. DO NOT rely on others to setup the flight plans. There has been a situation where the plan was wrong or was inappropriate for the aircraft. Also, the plan may be designed at an advanced level you are not used to. Arrive at the hub flight with plenty of time to adjust the plan for the weather conditions or if Air Traffic Control (ATC) has changed the active (ex. 27L changes to 27R.) Any other plan recommendations will be discussed in the FSNav training.

At the beginning of each month, AST will host a 24 hour event to be flown online.  The event will consist of nine hops flown in a complete circle.  You can start the event at any leg you wish, just keep in mind that you will need to finish all nine hops within the active 24 hour time frame and finish where you started.  Completion of the event will award you with two complete hub flight certificates.  If you complete three or more legs but less than nine, you will be awarded with one hub flight certificate.


Flight Simulator

Flight Simulator has many features, controls and views. Be familiar with all of Flight Simulators commands. Get to know all of them, it will make you flight experience easier, efficient, and more pleasant. It is more efficient if you memorize all of the keyboard shortcuts before hand rather than relying on written commands.

You may also want to consider purchasing a joystick that has many buttons and axis. It is very helpful to have common controls right at your fingertips. A 3 or 4 axis joystick enables you to have the Elevator trim available for constant use. Also look for a joystick with a Point of View (POV) Hat. This allows you to look many directions quickly

The Saitek X45 features six-axis control, with joystick, throttle, rudder and two rotary controls for unparalleled control. Combine this with three selectable-programmed modes, pinkie shift control, three 8-way hats, mouse cursor control, and 14 digital inputs for unlimited programmability of 276 functions.

The Saitek X45 Joystick provides for a fantastic flight experience. It has a separate throttle control w/rudder axis and 26 programmable buttons. It also has 2 POV Hats. There are many makes and models of Flight Simulator yokes out there. Find one that is comfortable and suits you needs. Any pilot is usually glad to make a recommendation for a flight stick.

There are many extremely good joysticks and "cockpit systems" available suitable for all types of flight simulation. Shop around and find one that fits your needs. It is recommended that you have at least a three axis joystick, preferably of the force-feedback type.


ATC - Voice Communication

Teamspeak is important for CRM. The software client program allows you to utilise ATC without having to constantly type in the chat window. Air SeaTac Virtual recommends that you use a headset with microphone with Teamspeak. It is inconvenient and inefficient to have to type while you are lining up on an approach in limited visibility. Teamspeak provides Voice-Activated-Talk or Push- To-Talk modes. Teamspeak works just like the real world radio system.


The "Kneeboard"

Most of us at home do not have an actual kneeboard. A good kneeboard for a Simulator Pilot is simply a sheet of unlined 8½ by 11 paper. I also recommend a good pen such as a Unit-Ball Vision or a Pilot G2 (07 or 05). This makeshift kneeboard is useful for jotting down IP addresses and passwords for flights. This is better than constantly nagging everyone in the flight about an IP or "What is the Active?" It will save a headache later on if you write everything down as soon as you hear it. Here are some items to jot down on the kneeboard:

  1. The IP addresses of the Game, Teamspeak, and any other add-ons.
  2. A list of all hops in that flight.
  3. The active runway at each Airport.
  4. Note any weather observations. (Other pilots may warn of what's up ahead)
  5. Note your engine start and stop time - required for your flight report
  6. Note Fuel Consumption - required for your flight reports
  7. Other Pilots you are flying with



Another way you can prepare for any flight is to know your taxiways. It can shave some time off of the flight and help you get those good "on time" marks. Spend lots of time at your hubs learning how to get around on the ground. At KORD, they are capable of having three or more active runways at a given time. In KATL, they will regularly use all four at the same time. So you never know where ATC may send you. For a good challenge, try to taxi to RWY 18 from the gate at KORD without help from a diagram.



Emergencies can become a big problem during your flight. This writer has had a problem where the landing gear did not extend. On final into Cancun in a 747-400 during a hub flight, Flight Simulator actually threw in a failure without me knowing about it!!! I proceeded with a missed approach and went around. Before I entered my second final, I manually extended the landing gear. (CTRL+G for those who don't know) The landing was a success. Good thing I knew about that command. That goes to show you that it is important to learn the Flight Simulator commands. It is also would have been a good thing to know the procedures for a gear up landing (Yes, Flight Simulator allows gear up, belly landings).

A good rule is to always have a plan B while you are flying. Do not hesitate to announce your emergency to controllers. ATC will be help in any way possible in an emergency; they can clear traffic and alert authorities. During an emergency landing remember, DO NOT STOP FLYING THE PLANE until you come to a complete stop. Even during a gear up landing, some control can still be maintained.

Practice gear up landing in a 737-400 at KTPA Rwy 18R


Information compiled and written by Matthew H. Schultz